Managing the margins: MBA training, international business, and “the value chain of culture”

by Andrew Orta

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Global capitalism requires a world of manageable differences. U.S. business schools train MBA students in the reckoning of international space as a field of risk and opportunity. Focusing particularly on the short-term study-abroad trips that have become a staple of MBA training in the past decade, I examine the role of international knowledge and experience as a constitutive part of the managerial selves contemporary capitalism is explicitly thought to require. Through these and other internationalizing experiences, I argue, MBAs learn to manage the margins: converting the risks and uncertainties of social and cultural differences into value.